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Soft Affirmative Action and Minority Recruitment

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  • Daniel Fershtman
  • Alessandro Pavan

Abstract

We study search, evaluation, and selection of candidates of unknown quality for a position. We examine the effects of "soft" affirmative action policies increasing the relative percentage of minority candidates in the candidate pool. We show that, while meant to encourage minority hiring, such policies may backfire if the evaluation of minority candidates is noisier than that of non-minorities. This may occur even if minorities are at least as qualified and as valuable as non-minorities. The results provide a possible explanation for why certain soft affirmative action policies have proved counterproductive, even in the absence of (implicit) biases.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Fershtman & Alessandro Pavan, 2020. "Soft Affirmative Action and Minority Recruitment," Papers 2004.14953, arXiv.org.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2004.14953
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Moro, Andrea & Norman, Peter, 2003. "Affirmative action in a competitive economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 567-594, March.
    2. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
    3. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    4. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anja Prummer, "undated". "Discrimination in Promotion," Working Papers 905, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.

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